Natalie W. Shivers
1737, Churchville Road (MD 22), Churchville, Harford County
The Dibb House is a 2 1/2-story frame house with a gable roof and a central projecting bay with cross gable. It is basically L-shaped, beneath a myriad of porches, oriels, and bay and dormer windows. The front (north) section is three bays wide and one room deep; the rear (south) section is two bays long and one room wide. The east walls of the two sections are flush. Set on a raised stone foundation, the house is covered with shiplap, with scalloped shingles on the gables and the sides of the dormers. The gable and dormer bargeboards have a stick design. Two interior stuccoed chimney flank the cross gable, and there is a third interior chimney in the center of the rear section. Most windows have 2/2 sash and louvered shutters, although several have 1/1 sash with a border of square, stained-glass windows around the upper light, in the style of "Queen Anne windows". All exterior doors except the front door have two lights over two panels. A shed, a barn, and an outhouse stand on the property.
The architectural character of the Dibb House stands halfway between the ordinary farmhouse and the full-fledged Victorian castle. As such, it represents the transformation of a basic form to suit more worldly tastes and a higher income than the average homebuilder's. The house has all the gimmicks of the Victorian style--the variety of materials, ornaments, and shapes--but it remains firmly rooted in indigenous forms. Its late 19th century garb could be peeled off to reveal the same simple farmhouse that was duplicated for generations all over Harford County. The Dibb house is exemplary of this type. Not only did the builder go to great lengths to be stylish, but the house remains nearly perfectly intact. The original fabric, both interior and exterior, is entirely unaltered except for a few replaced porch posts. The Latrobe stove in the west parlor may be the only one left in Harford County. The 14-acre setting and 150-year-old trees also should be noted, especially in this closely developed area near Bel Air. A house of this vintage in this condition is extremely rare in Harford County.